There are numerous things that can increase website’s exposure.
We can comment on different blogs, post on forums, interact with our followers on social networks. However, in terms of pure marketing benefit, there is nothing better than guest blogging.
Why is that, you might ask?
Simply put, guest blogging doesn’t only create a bond between you and other professionals; it also gets you a link to your own website which will help you rank higher in Google.
Always remember, all these small activities have impact on your business. By investing more time into them, you are bound to gain more traffic, exposure and sales. Nevertheless, there is some cause for concern when it comes to guest posting.
OK, there’s no easy way to say this so I’ll just say it directly.
We can’t be sure whether guest blogging will remain a valid strategy in the future.
We know that Google looks down on everything that can be considered as a link building strategy. That being said, it is possible that guest posting might become a blackhat method.
It’s time for some guest blogging tips.
Why guest blogging?
Guest blogging has been around for quite some time.
Although most people do not realize this, this SEO strategy has a much greater purpose than it meets the eye. Ultimately, almost every organization should allow guest writers to blog post on their website.
What is so great about guest blogging?
Increases your exposure
Obviously, each article that you write for another blog gives you more exposure and more traffic. It allows you to tap into readership of other organizations, increasing your own in the process.
That being said, articles written for big websites are especially beneficial given that a lot of minor portals borrow or copy their content including your link.
Allows you to diversify your readership
In terms of marketing and SEO, blogs should always stick to certain topics. Otherwise, they might jeopardize their rankings and alienate their loyal readers. Nevertheless, some of the websites have a chance to cover numerous topics.
For example, if you have a baby website, it wouldn’t be far-fetched to write articles about Danish baby jerseys. Even though you can stick to pregnancy and motherhood/fatherhood as the main topic, you can still add some baby product posts here and there.
Due to the fact that you are mainly baby oriented, you will require some method to promote rest of the content. And what better way than guest posting?
Helps create bonds with other bloggers
This is very powerful!
Links and social mentions can make or break your website. Some people constantly create great content but are unable to propel their website to that next level.
Simply put, they haven’t managed to build meaningful bonds with other bloggers and to persuade them to share their content.
Guest posting is a big step in the right direction.
Not only will it build relationships, it will also force other bloggers to pay more attention to your website. Imagine other bloggers reading one of your guest articles only to realize: ”Hey, I know this guy! Might as well link to his blog post”.
Increases your reputation
Needless to say, every additional article has cumulative effect.
Most people will start posting on small and medium blogs and after a while, they will get an opportunity to post on bigger websites. Every next article will be easier to write and editors will have more confidence in your writing skills.
Continuous guest blogging will put you on the map as one of the “go-to” experts.
If you are offering products or services, it will increase the confidence of your potential customers and you will get better professional opportunities.
Improves your SEO
Back in 2014, Matt Cutts said that guest blogging is dead. This is true to an extent.
You see, it is still possible to get some high quality links with this method and as far as we know.
Google will not downgrade the importance of those links as long as you are not pursuing them on a massive scale.
Articles of this kind are still very potent and guest blogging in 2017 is still a common topic. However, make sure not to overdo it as guest post links should represent a minor part of your link profile.
As you can see, there is much more to guest posting than you would initially presume.
Most bloggers see it exclusively as an SEO method. But, it should be defined as a marketing effort instead.
The main thing you have to know about guest blogging is that this method should always be performed in strict moderation. Otherwise, you might get penalized by Google.
How should your guest posts look like?
Previously, I mentioned that your guest articles have several functions.
Due to this fact, you shouldn’t make a mistake in creating something of low quality. In the end, all these articles are a part of your professional portfolio. Your guest posts need to be reflection of your company and expertise. Otherwise, they wouldn’t work.
Most people see guest articles as a way to build links.
This is completely wrong!
Similarly to articles on your website, posts linking to them need to be of high quality, full of relevant information. As you well know, Google puts a lot of emphasis on authority.
If you are in any way connected to low quality content, your article will lose authority as well. Besides that, it is much better to create high quality posts as they will showcase your professional skills.
But, there is a catch.
It is pretty pointless to create guest posts that are of higher quality than your own post. This can only be a waste of time especially if you are using this strategy on a larger scale.
Imagine if you create an article of 1000 words while your guest articles have 2000 on average. So, you will have to find the perfect middle.
Use images, videos and sources
Another thing that you should consider is linking to other quality resources, adding pictures and videos.
Guest articles shouldn’t rely solely on text. Similarly to your own content, it is necessary to make something that will leave a positive impression. This means that post needs to be heavily formatted and enriched.
Now, most people think that you need a lot of time to learn how to edit. In fact, I’ve met people that have taken a guest blogging course just so they can produce better guest posts.
This is not necessary as there are a lot of resources on the web that can help you with that.
If you still do not feel comfortable writing a particular piece for an authoritative website, you can pay for a guest blogging service. It is much cheaper than paying for a whole course.
What about anchor text?
Good thing about guest blogging is the fact that you can use almost any type of anchor text. With it, you can either diversify or choose the precise keyword.
However, big websites are more restrictive policy in that regard. Usually, they will only allow a link to your homepage from the bio section. Nevertheless, given the amount of link juice they are passing, it will be more than worth it.
Selection of guest blogs is also very important.
As I mentioned, you need to be very careful with this approach. For example, if you just created a new post about gardening, links from guest articles should make for a small percentage of total links. To be honest, you probably won’t have time to create a high number of high quality posts anyway.
Because of this, you should choose websites that will give you most link juice or websites that you wish to become friendly with. Also, make sure to get links from as many different websites as possible.
Finding guest blogging opportunities
If you wish to promote an article, you will have to write guest posts on the same or at least similar topic. When you create a link anchor from that text, you need to be able to connect the two articles together. Unrelated links will not help your campaign.
In order to find those potentially beneficial articles, you will have to scrape Google for results.
Here are some of the phrases you should use:
Keyword + “write for us”
Keyword + “guest post”
Keyword + “guest blog”
Keyword + “guest writer”
Keyword + “guest author”
Some SEO experts may recommend other search stings as well. Have in mind that these are the most common ones and also, they are the root words from which other search string are derived. Do not waste your time by using long phrases when shorter phrases can bring you much more results.
Anyway, this can lead you directly to a page with guest content based on that particular keyword.
If they have already published something similar, they are likely to accept your guest article as well. Nevertheless, try to find something a bit different so that the guest blogging sites and their editors have a valid reason to accept you as a contributing author.
Don’t forget shoulder niches
If there are not enough opportunities with that keyword, go wider. Try using a more general keyword.
For example, if a website doesn’t have any guest articles revolving around organic food that doesn’t mean that they are not interested in food in general. In fact, these websites are even better given that your article will be quite unique and refreshing.
Websites use guest articles as a way to:
- Get money by charging for them (always pass on this option!)
- Get some quality fresh content
- Save some time and resources
- Connect with and pitch other bloggers
- Do guest post exchange
As long as you can offer something to a blog owner, they will most likely accept you as an author. Basically, the only thing that can break this deal is if your portfolio is too thin or if you have a bad reputation.
I already mentioned that you should guest blogging to increase your reputation, remember? Always have that in mind when writing something for other people.
Assessing the websites and using Excel
In order to guest blog on a medium scale, you will need to use Excel or Google Sheets.
After finding interesting websites, you are ready to place them in sheets. First of all, you will have to determine whether a domain is strong enough for you. For that, you can use several tools.
Have in mind that you will have to scrape mountains of data during this process. You will require things such as names, emails, social profiles, etc. Due to this fact, it is best if you pass on opportunities that will not benefit your website.
The best way to determine website’s authority is by checking its domain authority score. I usually use Moz Domain Authority and Ahrefs Domain Rating metrics.
How to check the domain authority of a blog?
Depending on strength of your website, you will include stronger or weaker website. Needless to say, stronger websites are always better but if your domain is still new, it is probably better to start with medium tier blogs.
For example, DA and DR of 40 is pretty good for brand new websites. On the other hand, if you are a medium sized website, it is better to pass on websites below 30. Needless to say, higher numbers are a good sign.
One of the best tools online is MozBar. It’s also free to use.
When you install this chrome plug-in, it will appear in top right corner of your browser. You will instantly be able to assess a website determining whether this is the right thing for you. That way, if you don’t like the number, you can pass on certain opportunity.
Domain Authority Checker is another handy tool that can help you here. All you have to do is copy paste a URL and tool will instantly show you the Moz DA for that particular domain.
I am a big fan of Ahrefs and their Domain Rating system. You can check it if you subscribe to the tool, which is a bit pricey but a must have for every SEO expert.
Of course, there are some other, more powerful tools that you can use. However, I urge against it because they are more complex on average.
Do not be too obsessed with stats. Have in mind that reaching an ideal audience may be much better than simply getting random traffic.
Although websites such as Forbes are amazing for boosting your blog stats, link from a medium tier blog within your niche can make you popular.
Always pay attention to contributors guidelines!
Before you submit a guest post, another thing that needs to be considered is guest blogging guidelines. Most often you can find them by using the keyword + “write for us” search query.
Some websites have visibly displayed guidelines which can tell you what is expected from you as an author. Although they are generally very useful, they can also be a deal breaker.
Anyway, this list will give you a few starting ideas as to what a person wants from you.
Basically, everybody loves their own website. Some individuals love it more than others and are imposing some ridiculous demands.
In certain cases, it will lose its point as you will have to write for a day or two just to get a link from a mediocre website. Make sure to avoid these websites as they are usually not worth the effort.
OK, through analysis, you have found websites you wish to pursue. Now what?
Google Sheets is your best friend
Next, create an excel sheet in which you can add all the data.
It’s better to use just one sheet for all your guest post campaigns. This way you’ll have everything at your disposal. All you have to do is create several tabs for each project.
Here are the columns you should have in your Google sheet:
- Domain name
- Name of the owner/editor
- Email (if you can, find personal email)
- Contact form url (in case you cannot find an email)
- Social profile (if email doesn’t work)
- Domain authority
- Guidelines/ Write for us page (if it exists)
That’s basically it. You can add some more data but this is more than enough for starters.
Pitching bloggers for guest posts
Before we get into anything else, I have to give you a couple of tips.
People think that blogger outreach is easy.
All you have to do is send a couple of lines and you will get a link. This is not true as there are numerous things you have to keep in mind.
If you wish to close a deal, make sure to look credible. You will need a signature and info@company email address.
Do not make a mistake and include URLs in your initial email. This may send your message to spam folder.
I also urge you to install MailTrack. It’s a paid Chrome extension, but it’s free version does the job just fine too.
MailTrack works with Gmail only (don’t worry, you can connect your info@company address to Gmail) and it helps you track email stats such as open rate and clicks on links.
What about email templates?
According to our experience, small websites require much more attention. In their case, templates need to be a bit longer and warmer. You have a lot of leeway and these opportunities are easier to get.
On the other hand, bigger websites require a more direct approach. Their editors do not have time for long, intricate letters as they get a lot of guest post pitches during the week.
Sometimes, blogger will want to negotiate asking for money or a link back.
Always avoid paid links proposals because such websites are always into quick buck. Their domain is probably littered with nonsensical content and links to low quality sites which can pose a threat to you.
Link exchange can be acceptable but only in minimal dosages.
In a real situation, bloggers have to link to each other. We usually borrow other people’s articles for inspiration and information and they do the same in return. That being said, link exchange can be perceived as a natural occurrence if not done at a scale.
Your guest blogging network and social media
Most people think of guest blogging SEO as a way to increase the overall number of links. Although this is completely true, there is more to it.
Guest blogging is also a method for building relationships. It brings you closer to other bloggers. This may prove to be vital in the future as both of you probably work in a same industry.
In that regard, social media can be a great tool for both establishing contact and keeping in touch after you publish a guest post on person’s site.
This relationship can be further boosted through continuous communication. Have in mind that it is not enough to follow a person on click on his/her Facebook post. Instead, you need to take real interest in blogger and his/her daily life.
Another benefit of having such a relationship is that the number of your contacts will likely increase and you might gain access to other individuals who also allow guest positing.
No matter what Google says guest blogging is still a valid strategy.
It is definitely not something that you should get super obsessed with though. In fact, this method is an augmentation of your highly linked content. It can give you that extra boost that will get you to first page of Google.
Naturally, it is also a very potent way of getting links from relevant, highly authoritative domains.
In the end, you still have to build links in other ways, not just via guest posting. Diversification is the key to having a naturally looking link profile.
How often do you guest post? What strategies do you use? Let me know the answer to these questions in the comments below.